If you’re a new artist, the point of an EP is to showcase different aspects of your overall body of work to allow listeners to wet their feet with your sound. The 1975, the indie quartet from Manchester, England, is doing just that with a set of three EPs before releasing their debut full-length next spring.
The follow-up to August’s Facedown is the equally simply titled Sex. While not appearing entirely cohesive at first, the five-song collection comes together remarkably well after repeated listenings. Equal parts ethereal and synth pop, The 1975 are undoubtedly a band on the rise, and for good reason.
Opening track “Intro/Set3,” sets a mellow, atmospheric tone, the heavy sound effects contradicted by the layered, at times haunting vocals of lead singer Matt Healy. A different approach is taken on “Undo”; the song is stripped of too many attention-grabbing production theatrics and instead focuses on the smooth vocals and infectious chorus.
The band’s strengths really show in the second half of the EP. “Sex” isn’t entirely new, having been through different incarnations of the band for over a year; however, the title track now belongs to The 1975 and is the kind of song that makes people—and perhaps major labels—take notice. Where the first half of the EP was more subdued, “Sex” is full of catchy hooks, including the repeater, “She’s got a boyfriend anyway.” The fourth track, “You,” is undoubtedly the standout. Healy tells Nylon the song is about “that moment when you realize, ‘Oh, that was a bit of a waste of time, but fuck it, I’m actually just as happy as I was before, so no harm done.’” The guitar hook sticks in your head long after the song comes to an end and leaves you wanting more, which is exactly what an EP—especially one with a name like Sex—should do. Closer “Milk” concludes the EP’s upward trajectory with the brief, danceable track, heavy on guitar and advances (“Slow down…yeah, I want you”).
One could joke about the fact that an album called Sex proves the theory of quality over quantity, but that’s not to deny its accuracy. “Sex” and “You” show that The 1975 excel when they immerse themselves in a more pop-like realm, but with help from Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals) on their upcoming full-length, what little fine-tuning that still needs to be done to make this promising young band officially one to watch should be complete in no time.